headacheEveryday people suffer from pain that is being directed inside their head, the term we use for this is headaches. In Singapore, Dr Charles Siow, president of the Headache Society of Singapore (HSS), estimates that 360,000 people – or one in 13 people – suffer from migraine or some form of headaches in Singapore.

With days missed from work and school, impaired performance and medication costs, the overall cost of migraine headaches to Singapore is estimated at a staggering US$100 million (S$146 million) a year. In Singapore, what do most people do when they have a headache?  Take pain killers and hope the pain or problem goes away? Will that solve the cause of the problem?

Apparently, four in 10 people in Singapore surveyed in 2008 said they were not satisfied with their treatment using pain killers, the main reasons being insufficient pain relief and failure to reduce attacks. So what do most people do? Take a higher dosage. According to a survey of patients in general practice clinics in Singapore, about one in five used pain medication more than four days a week – a rate that even medical doctors here deem excessive.

If the headache goes away that’s fine, but what if the pain is due to some other problems within the head such as tumor or the neck? Could the headache be your body’s way of communicating to you that there is an internal problem that needs to be taken care of?

Headaches are a fairly common pain for everyone, and most people rely on medication like aspirin to deal with them. What people do not realize is that the pain causing the headache may be coming from some other region in the body and will continue to persist unless treated. Stress, back, and even muscle pain can send pain signals to the nerves, arteries, and veins inside their head, causing these headaches.

Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises,lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems. Ninety-five percent of headaches fall into the category of primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease such as a tumor in the head or a brain aneurysm. The headache itself is the primary concern.

The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. Today, Singaporeans engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache. What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on; lie down; pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? If you have a headache, you’re not alone.

Nine out of ten persons suffer from some form of headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause weakening pain and nausea.

Most of our patients have tried many methods including massage and medications that only provide temporary relief. At LifeSystems Chiropractic we believe that there is a better alternative. New research shows that spinal adjustments or manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of Chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck (cervicogenic headaches in medical terms).

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, North Carolina, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.

A 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who received chiropractic treatment for four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

When you visit our office, the doctor will first determine the cause of your headache. If you were to suffer from a primary headache, chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system, nutritional advice, diet modification, advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques may be given as part of your total headache relief care.

The goal in mind is to help relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back. Chiropractic care can relieve and correct the problem causing the headache. Our doctor of Chiropractic, Dr Timothy Lim looks forward to seeing you get better.